My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant,
and from this day all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty has done great things for me:
holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and has sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
The Church knows this prayer as the Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat. With these words, the Blessed Mother gives thanks to God for His gift of love to her and to all of Israel. For the child in her womb is the mercy, the strength, the fulfillment, and the help they had been waiting for.
The Magnifcat is the perfect Advent prayer. As Saint John Paul II said, Mary’s “words convey the hope-filled expectation of the ‘poor of the Lord’ and at the same time an awareness that God has fulfilled his promises, for he ‘has remembered his mercy.’”
They also convey the joy that we feel as we await the celebration of the Lord’s coming. According to the late Holy Father, Mary's joy “pervades the whole canticle.” There is “joy in knowing that she has been ‘looked upon’ by God despite her own ‘lowliness;’ joy in the ‘service’ she is able to offer because of the ‘great things’ to which the Almighty has called her; joy in her foretaste of the eschatological blessedness promised to ‘those of low degree’ and ‘the hungry.’”
Mary, the perfect bride of the Holy Spirit, reveals to us the gratitude that all men should give to God. She makes herself vulnerable in this prayer, thanking Him for remembering His promises. We should be moved by the Holy Spirit to give thanks in this way as well, St. John Paul II said, for:
[God] wishes to set man free from the slavery of things and to put him back continually on the way of love of persons—love of God and love of his brothers—with the spirit of purity, poverty, and simplicity.
Like Mary, let us thank the Father for this gift of liberation. Let us put the Blessed Mother and her Magnificat before us as we complete our journey towards Christmas, embracing the reality that “evil and death, will not have the last word!”
Oh Beautiful Mother of the Magnificat, Pray for Us!